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Can a Driver Refuse to Submit to a Chemical Test in a Wisconsin OWI?

 Posted on April 13, 2020 in DUI/OWI

Milwaukee County OWI defense attorney

The state of Wisconsin remains the only state in the nation that does not criminalize first-time DUI offenses. Instead of it being a criminal charge, it is treated more like a traffic ticket. Drivers pay a fine, and while they do experience a six- to nine-month license suspension, they are also eligible for an occupational license immediately. Even so, law enforcement officials take operating while intoxicated (OWI) offenses rather seriously. That is why it is important to understand Wisconsin's Implied Consent law and how it affects sobriety tests in OWI traffic stops. 

Administering a Chemical Test

When a police officer pulls you over under the suspicion that you may be operating your vehicle while intoxicated (OWI), he or she will likely ask you what you have been doing and if you have been drinking. If anything about your conversation makes the officer think that you may be impaired, he or she may ask you to step out of the vehicle to conduct field sobriety tests, or you may be asked to take a portable breathalyzer test that will give an estimate of your blood-alcohol content (BAC). If the results of these tests or any other observations cause the officer to believe that you are intoxicated, you may be arrested. Upon your arrest, you will be taken back to the police station, where you will be asked to submit to an official chemical test to determine your blood-alcohol content (BAC). This is where you have a choice. You have the right to refuse the test, but you will face consequences if you do break the implied consent laws.

Implied Consent in Wisconsin

Like most other states, the state of Wisconsin has an implied consent law. This law states that any person who drives a vehicle in Wisconsin is already deemed to have given his or her consent to “one or more tests of his or her breath, blood, or urine.” These tests are used to determine a driver’s BAC, and a driver who is tested with a BAC of .08% or higher will be charged with OWI. Although you can still refuse to take a chemical test, the implied consent law includes penalties for a refusal.

Penalties for a Chemical Test Refusal

The first time you refuse to submit to a chemical test, you will face a one-year driver’s license revocation. You can apply for an occupational driving permit after 30 days, but you are required to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in your vehicle. If you refuse a chemical test a second time with no prior OWI offenses within the past 10 years, you face the same consequences. However, if you do have a prior OWI offense within the past 10 years, you face a two-year driver’s license revocation. You are also not permitted to apply for an occupational license for at least 90 days, and you are required to have an IID installed in your vehicle for at least one year.

Contact a Jefferson County Criminal Defense Attorney 

If you have been arrested and charged with OWI, you need to speak with a skilled Milwaukee County OWI defense lawyer right away. With help from an experienced criminal defense attorney, you may be able to mitigate some of the consequences of an OWI offense. At the Bucher Law Group, LLC, we have years of experience helping clients receive favorable sentences for OWI charges. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 262-303-4916.






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